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Is There Evidence of DriveBy Digging?

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  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
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There has been considerable speculation accusing Digg users of DriveBy Digging -- digging without actually reading the stories that are linked to. We conducted a little more research, and you may be surprised what we uncovered.

We know of one webmaster who says that even after his website crashed from the Digg Effect, his post continuted to receive Diggs. His site was completely inaccessible for over an hour, but his Digg-count was still increasing rapidly. He interpreted this as proof that many Diggers digg stories even though they haven't read them. While this is probably accurate, we decided that we needed a little more evidence of DriveBy Digging.

To gather the required data, we spent some time with Digg Spy, monitoring real-time Digg activity. We unchecked all the checkboxes except "show dugg stories." Even with these restrictions, new rows are added at a rate of about one per two seconds (even faster at busy times of the day).

While this might not qualify as absolute proof, we think that the following screenshot (taken at 6:44 pm PST on 10 April 2007) serves as a great illustration of DriveBy Digging. Click on the thumbnail for a larger view:

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You may be surprised to learn that 'kevinrose', the founder of Digg, dugg three stories in this single screenshot! When you consider how fast this page is updated, it seems probable that Kevin Rose himself committed DriveBy Digging. Also notice that two other users dugg two stories each in this short timespan. We are confident that even with the fasted internet connection, it would be impossible to read three stories and then digg them in such a short span of time. Although it is possible that the users read the stories and returned to Digg to perform the digging, we don't find this too likely.

MYTH: Plausible - DriveBy Digging is probably quite common.

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